An Apple employee apparently left an in-development iPhone in a bar. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever lost, and why?

A client invited us to pitch for a major project with an impossible deadline. To make it happen you would have needed fairy dust – and a magic wand, so I thought our pitch would be memorable if we produced one. Only trouble was I didn’t have any pockets, so I slide it in my voluminous knickers. The big moment came to whip it out and it was nowhere to be found. We won regardless.

Carol Whitworth, Inspiration and innovation director, Home

I have never lost anything because I have learnt from so many rich stories where things go wrong. It’s other people who are distracting and cause you to forget things or lose the plot along the way. Years ago two colleagues of mine were picked up by car in [New York] and started talking. They talked all the way to the airport. Talked at check-in. Talked through security. Talked at the gate. Talked to the ground staff as they gave them their tickets. Talked as they boarded, sat on the plane, drank coffee and then disembarked at the wrong airport in the wrong city to see the wrong client. As I said – other people are the distraction.

Helen Keyes, Principal, Blue Ink Co Design

I’m a serial offender with lost notebooks, but my most durable embarrassing loss was actually geographic. Returning to the office for an important client meeting, I was catching up on mobile calls, so missed my regular turn off. I then got hopelessly lost trying to find my way back and had to be talked in by colleagues while the client waited. I was awarded a gold-framed map of the area for my desk as a lasting memento.

Felicity Kelly, Managing director, Duttons Design

Some years ago I was in a very important client meeting. The client team around the table thought I was taking notes. Actually, I was making amusing, but unglamorous caricatures of them. When I got back to the studio I had to call the client to ask if they had seen a black sketch book left behind in the board room with my name on it. Some would say it was just desserts. For me it was a cataclysmic turning point in my life. The next day I surrendered to adulthood and promised never to doodle in public again. I was only 32 years old and robbed of my youth forever.

Marksteen Adamson, Founding partner, Arthur Steen Horne Adamson


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